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Soulbook

Rod Stewart

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Album Review

Continuing his stroll through pop's back pages, Rod Stewart moves on from the "Great Rock Classics of Our Time" and dives into the Soulbook, shorthand for all the great Motown and soul songs that still are in heavy rotation on oldies radio well into the new millennium. Apart from an oddly funkified spin of Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" and a version of Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" that illustrates just how much range he's lost over the years, Rod doesn't spend much time with the soul and blues singers so influential on him, choosing instead to run through a bunch of Motown hits — a full six of the 13 songs here are from the Motor City — adding a couple of smooth soul hits from the early '70s, plus Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown's "Let It Be Me," which gives him an opportunity to duet with Jennifer Hudson. All this is firmly within Stewart's wheelhouse; these arrangements are all designed to evoke memories, not to dig into the heart of the songs. It's all pleasing, flowing better than the Great American Songbook albums.

Biography

Born: 10 January 1945 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Over the course of his career, Rod Stewart has had it all. He's been lauded as the finest singer of his generation, he's written several songs that turned into modern standards, he sang with the Faces, who rivaled the Rolling Stones in their prime, he had massive commercial success. Stewart also saw his critical respect slip away during the '80s, when he recorded lightweight pop and although he did record some terrible albums — and he would admit that freely — Stewart will always be remembered...
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